Myasthenia Gravis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Myasthenia Gravis is characterised by drooping eyes, often the first sign of weakened eyelid muscles. It is distinguished by fatigable weakness, where symptoms worsen with activity but improve after rest. This condition primarily affects the neuromuscular junction and can be acquired or congenital.
Causes And Who Can Get Myasthenia Gravis
Acquired myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder caused by antibodies targeting the skeletal muscle acetylcholine receptor (AchR Antibody) or muscle-specific kinase (MUSK), with the thymus gland playing a role in antibody modulation. It predominantly affects young females (<40 years) and elderly men (>50 years).
Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms
Typical symptoms include easy fatigability, droopy eyelids, and double vision. In some cases, it may remain localised to the eye muscles, reducing the likelihood of spreading to other muscles after two years. Additional symptoms encompass difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, and weakness in the arms, hindering daily activities. Breathing muscles can also be affected, leading to shortness of breath and potential respiratory complications.
Diagnosis and Treatments For Myasthenia Gravis
Diagnosis involves repetitive nerve conduction studies, antibody tests, and sometimes imaging to examine the thymus gland. Treatment comprises immunosuppressive medications such as steroids, mycophenolate, and azathioprine. Severe cases or myasthenic crises may require plasmapheresis or intravenous immunoglobulin therapy. Pyridostigmine is used to control symptoms. Emerging therapies like rituximab and efgartigimod show promise for treatment-resistant cases.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any symptoms, book an appointment with Dr. Megha Dhamne, Consultant – Neurology, at P. D. Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Centre, Mahim, Mumbai contact: 022 6766 8181/022 4510 8181